With less than a week left in September, Ontario has reached a grim milestone as the province reports its highest daily COVID-19 case count since the beginning of the pandemic.
According to Ontario’s Health Minister Christine Elliott, health officials reported 700 new COVID-19 infections on Monday, breaking the previous single-day increase record of 624 cases on April 24.
Including the new infections reported today, Ontario’s total number of COVID-19 cases currently sits at 50,531 including 2,840 deaths and 43,127 recoveries.
In the epidemiology report that was released on Monday morning, nearly half of the new cases (317 cases) are in people between the ages of 20 and 39, an age group that has accounted for most of Ontario’s lab-confirmed COVID-19 cases to date.
183 cases were recorded in people between the ages of 40 and 59, while 101 new infections were reported in people 19 years of age and younger.
Eighty-seven new cases are in people between the ages of 60 and 79 and 15 new cases were documented in people 80 years of age and older.
The report also highlighted that most of the new cases were reported in the Toronto, Peel, and Ottawa regions with the Toronto region documenting 344 new cases of COVID-19, more than double the amount that was recorded the day before.
The Peel region also recorded triple-digit increases in new infections, reporting 104 new cases of COVID-19, while the Ottawa and York regions reported double-digit increases of 89 and 56 cases respectively.
Commenting on the trend and province’s record-setting new case count on Monday, Premier Doug Ford said it was “deeply concerning” as he confirmed Ontario maybe experience a second wave of the pandemic which will be “more complicated, more complex — it’ll be worse than the first”.
“Please follow the health guidance. Please download the COVID Alert app. Please get your flu shot this year, it’s absolutely critical” added Premier Ford. “If we can get everyone to take these simple steps, we can tip the scale, we can avoid the worst”.
“Our collective actions will decide if we face a wave or a tsunami.”
Ontario Hospitals Calling on Government to Revert Certain Regions to Stage 2 amid a surge in new cases
As the province continues the trend in triple-digit increases in COVID-19 cases, Ontario’s hospitals continue to call upon the government to reinstate restrictions in COVID-19 hot spots which may include calls to move certain regions back to Stage 2.
The Ontario Hospital Association says the government must move regions that are considered COVID-19 hot spots back to Stage 2 of the province’s pandemic response including restrictions on non-essential businesses like restaurants, gyms, and movies theatres.
Anthony Dale, the President and CEO of the Ontario Hospital Association says hospitals could become overwhelmed with patients if such action isn’t taken, especially with the recent surge in COVID-19 cases reported each day.
“A return to Stage 2, with restriction on indoor dining and bars, places of worship, weddings, gyms, movie theatres and other non-essential businesses, is needed now to keep schools and prevent a further acceleration of infections,” said Anthony Dale.
“We’ve seen in jurisdictions around the world how acute care capacity can be easily overwhelmed if the number of positive cases rises too sharply,” added the Ontario Hospital Association President and CEO in a public statement.
“At this rate, Ontario hospitals are facing a direct threat to their ability to continue delivering the highest quality of care to Ontarians.”
The call comes after a move by the province on Friday to close all strip clubs and require bars and restaurants to shut down earlier.
When asked about the calls from the Ontario Hospital Association to re-implement restrictions to limit the spread of the COVID-19, Health Minister Christine Elliott said, “We don’t want to turn back a stage unless we have to.”
As for how high the case count needs to climb to get to that point, Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. David Williams wouldn’t say.
Dr. Williams suggested the province is considering “targeted” measures but didn’t specify what measures might be under consideration, where, or at what point they might be implemented.
The Ontario government has also invested $ 52.5 million dollars to recruit and train more than 3,700 frontline healthcare workers to ensure the healthcare system can handle any spike in demand.
The province also announced that $ 26.3 million dollars would be spent supporting personal support workers (PSW) and support workers, and that $ 26 million dollars would be spent supporting nurse.
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